Greg Holland’s control has been his foible as a pitcher and may lead to his eventual downfall as the closer for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals (2-3) fell 4-3 Saturday night to the Philadelphia Phillies (2-3) after Holland walked the bases loaded to start off the 9th inning.
On the Mound
Holland’s meltdown ruined a good outing by starter Luis Mendoza, who went went 6 strong frames, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 7. Mendoza was backed up by perfect innings from both Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera. Holland was squeezed on his first batter, Chase Utley, when home plate umpire Jeff Kellog called 4 pitches balls, and all four were close enough to be strikes. Holland fell apart after that, walking Ryan Howard and Michael Young. After getting two strike outs, Holland surrendered a rope to the gap by pinch hitter Kevin Frasden that cleared the bases, and the game was over. If Holland doesn’t find his control very quickly, he won’t be the closer much longer.
At the Plate
The offense wasn’t terrific but it was good enough. Jeff Francoeur was 2-4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. Miguel Tejada drove in 2 runs but was picked off third in a key situation that may have proven costly. Billy Butler picked up only his 2nd hit of the year with a double in 4 at bats.
This and That
On Friday, the Royals became only the 3rd team ever, and the 1st since 1930, to go scoreless in the first 4 innings and scoring in each of the last 5.
Player of the Game
Philadelpia won the game by scoring 4 runs on only 3 hits. Including the free passes in the 9th, they walked 6 times. The Phillies struck out 12 times after striking out 8 times on Friday.
This loss was a tough one because a victory would have insured at least a .500 road trip. It won’t be easy on Sunday for James Shields as he will face Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels at 11:35 a.m. CT.
AL Central Notes
Minnesota Twins (3-2): Right fielder Chris Parmeless went 2-3 with a home run against the Orioles and Justin Morneau was 3-5. Rookie Aaron Hicks took the collar again, going 0-5 for the second day in a row. He is now 1-22 on the season, One has to wonder how long the Twins can go with Hicks at lead off.